The need to save energy has brought forth a host of products which now are economically practical to install. What better time to take a look at them than during a remodeling project around the house?
In the days of low-cost gasoline, oil, and coal, there didn't seem to be much need for energy-saving techniques and many products simply sat on the shelves. But with the energy squeeze of the past few years, their importance in the future cannot be minimized.
Among them are dampening devices which prevent heat loss up the chimney and inside window coverings that save heat by cutting off air seepage and wind.
The International Flue Saver, designed to be inserted in the stack of an oil- or gas-fired furnace, deflects heat into ducts rather than letting it go up the chimney.
In one installation, heat in the duct system was raised from 410 degrees F. to 460 degrees, or some 12 percent. Installation of the unit costs approximately $150 and is said to save from 10 to 20 percent on fuel.
The Window Quilt, made by the Appropriate Technology Corporation of Brattleboro, Vt., is designed to be hung on the inside of a window and saves heat in much the same way as a storm window.It is useful for apartment dwellers in older buildings where air seeps in around the window frame and high winds bring in the cold.
Like a window shade, the quilted fabric rolls along a track on the window frame and can be raised or lowered with changes in the seasons. It is said to save as much as 50 percent on fuel bills.
Energy is being saved in another way by those who use the AMF Paragon Timer. Because it can be set to turn lights, motors, heat, and other items on and off, electric energy is saved. Experiments with Wisconsin Electric Power Company with heavy-duty equipment on timers show that there is a saving when motors are running intermittently or at a time when power demand is least.
These same timers, now available to the homeowner, can be used to turn an air conditioner on just an hour before the working family returns home; and off after they leave for work in the morning.
They can be used to turn the lights on and off for both security and energy conservation, giving the impression that the family is at home. Not only do they save in fuel costs, but they extend the life of the equipment as well, says the manufacturer.
Timers are recommended for space heaters, water heaters, exhaust fans, and many other appliances.
The Heat Recycler is designed by Nautilus Industries to transfer trapped ceiling heat to floor level, providing maximum utilization of heated air. The unit can run continuously, using as little as 8 watts of power in 24 hours.
Deflectors to fit over floor, wall, or ceiling registers also are said to save energy. One manufacturer is Aristo-Mat Inc., maker of Deflex, a plastic deflector which directs hot air in winter and cool air in summer for increased comfort and fuel efficiency.
Temporary storm windows on the inside of windows are a good idea for renters and those who live in older buildings.
Two power factor controllers, inspired by a National Aeronautics and Space Administration development, are available to the home-owner to monitor and control energy. Watts Worth, developed under a NASA patent, conserves power in motors of such big energy users as refrigerators and freezers, clothes washers, power tools, and sump pumps.
A motor rarely needs full power even under fully loaded conditions. With this device, and another by EnerCon Inc., called Dr. Watt, as much as 60 percent of the energy on some motors c an be saved.